Oscars Snubbed Some of the Classics

The Oscars are coming on Sunday, Feb. 26, with a strong slate of nominees for Best Picture: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight”.

OscarsMaybe some of these will be like some of the films listed below – snubbed for the Best Picture Oscar, but enduring classics nonetheless.

Here are some of the now classic films snubbed for Best Picture in their day:

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
“Crash” was 2005’s big winner. But a decade later Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” a romantic drama about two gay ranch hands, is the movie everyone remembers. The ranch hands were played brilliantly by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Like Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg is a great director who has often been given short shrift by the Academy. Spielberg won the Best Director award for “Saving Private Ryan,” but the Academy Award for Best Picture went to the period comedy “Shakespeare in Love.” It was one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history.

Pulp Fiction (1994)
“Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks, had its charm, but Best Picture? Many believe that award should have gone to Quentin Tarantino’s dazzling “Pulp Fiction,” a movie full of surprises and scenes at once frightening and hilarious.

Goodfellas (1990)
Nobody even talks about 1990’s Best Picture winner “Dances With Wolves” anymore, except to note that its Oscar should have gone to Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, “Goodfellas.”

Tender Mercies (1983)
Exquisite and understated, this film is a small gem. Yet the Academy preferred the big-budget tearjerker “Terms of Endearment.” “Tender Mercies” star Robert Duvall did, however, win his first and only Oscar for his performance.

Taxi Driver (1976)
“Taxi Driver” is positively twisted. Martin Scorsese’s vigilante drama stood out as one of the most brilliant and original movies of the ’70s, a great decade for films in general. Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky,” on the other hand, was strictly formulaic, though a rousing entertainment, and it won the Oscar for Best Picture.

The Graduate (1967)
One of the most groundbreaking and entertaining films of the ’60s, Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” seduced an entire generation, just as Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) seduced Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman). But apparently no one clued in the Academy. On Oscar night, the award for Best Picture went to an old-school mystery, “In the Heat of the Night.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
This one isn’t so surprising when you remember the competition. “Lawrence of Arabia,” which won Best Picture and still stands up as a spectacular epic. Even so, it’s strange to think of the beloved “To Kill a Mockingbird” as one of the year’s losers.

Some Like It Hot (1959)
“Ben-Hur” swept 11 Oscar categories, including Best Picture, and its chariot races were undeniably impressive back in the day. But Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” never gets old. It ranks No. 1 on AFI’s list of the 100 funniest American movies. Not to mention it’s Marilyn Monroe’s best film.

Vertigo (1958)
In 2012, a poll of leading critics named Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller “the greatest film of all time,” knocking “Citizen Kane” out of the top spot for the first time since 1962. Yet “Vertigo” received only two Oscar nominations, for sound and art direction, and it didn’t win either. The Academy’s pick for Best Picture was the musical, “Gigi.”

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
“Rebel Without a Cause” is the masterpiece of director Jean-Luc Godard. It’s also the movie that defined James Dean. Yet the Academy Award for Best Picture went to a touching but now dated romantic drama, “Marty.”

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
A musical that really deserved to win Best Picture, “Singin’ in the Rain” wasn’t even nominated for that award, which went to Cecil B. DeMille’s circus movie “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Stanley Donan’s classic – famous for Gene Kelly’s iconic dance scene – lost in the category of Best Musical Score to “With a Song in My Heart.”

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Few would argue that “All About Eve,” the witty and engaging classic about an aging actress (Bette Davis) and the world of Broadway theater, didn’t deserve all nine of its Oscars. Even so, it’s hard to imagine Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” – about another aging actress (Gloria Swanson) – failing to win Best Picture.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)
William Wyler’s “The Best Years of Our Lives,” about difficulties faced by GIs returning from World War II, was certainly of the moment when it won the Oscar for Best Picture. Today it seems pretty dated – especially compared to Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which remains a cultural touchstone, a perennial holiday favorite and AFI’s pick for the most inspirational film ever.

Double Indemnity (1944)
It’s the original film noir. Director Billy Wilder collaborated with Raymond Chandler on the screenplay, based on James M. Cain’s tale of a femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck) and an insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) plotting to kill her husband. But “Double Indemnity” was too dark for the Academy, which gave Best Picture honors to the warm and fuzzy Bing Crosby flick “Going My Way.”

Citizen Kane (1941)
This one is often called the greatest film of all time. But despite nine Academy Award nominations, Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” won only one – for screenwriting. Meanwhile, John Ford’s more sentimental “How Green Was My Valley” made off with five Oscars, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director.

The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Academy routinely snubbed Alfred Hitchcock, nominating him five times without giving the Master of Suspense a single Oscar for Best Director. The only Hitchcock film to be voted Best Picture was 1940’s “Rebecca,” a fine movie but not even one of his Top 10. “The Philadelphia Story,” one of the nominees it edged out, ranks No. 5 on AFI’s list of the all-time greatest romantic comedies, thanks partly to the magic combination of Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
When Hollywood types got wind of Walt Disney’s plan to make an animated feature based on one of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, they dismissed it as “Disney’s folly.” It went on to become a critical and box-office sensation, and six decades later the American Film Institute (AFI) named “Snow White” the best animated movie ever. As for the Best Picture of 1937, the Academy gave that honor to a sober biopic, “The Life of Emile Zola.”

Engineers Made It Happen, Sometimes By Chance

Observation and developmental work by engineers that followed led to the development of products from Silly Putty to Velcro, according to the American Council of Engineering Companies.

While trying to create a rubber substitute, chemical engineers made a bouncy mistake – Silly Putty was the result.

A Canon engineer inadvertently rested his hot iron on his pen, causing ink to eject from the pen point moments later. This accident led to the creation of the inkjet printer.

A mechanical engineer saw a spring fall off a table. This led to creation of the Slinky and made toy history.

Engineer Perry Spencer stood in front of a radar magnetron tube he was testing in 1947. The candy bar in his pocket melted. This led him to develop the microwave oven.

Engineer Wilson Greatbatch was working on a heart rhythm recorder when by mistake he used an incorrect value resistor in a circuit. The circuit pulsed for 1.8 milliseconds, stopped for one second and repeated like a heartbeat. Greatbatch worked on this to invent the implantable cardiac pacemaker.

George de Mestral, an electrical engineer, returned from a hunting outing in 1941 and noticed that burrs were stuck to his clothing and his dog’s fur. Using a microscope, de Mestral saw how the tiny hooks of the burr seeds attached to fabric and hair. The observation led him to develop Velcro, now used in everything from sneakers to spacesuits.

You Can Age Yourself with Words

Face it, your grandkids already think you are nearly as old as Methuselah. Reader’s Digest suggests that if you use any of the 10 terms listed below they might be right!

Today, we call them “jeans,” but people once referred to pants made out of heavy denim as “dungarees.” The name comes from a cheap coarse type of cloth imported from Dongari Kilda, India. The word “dungaree” eventually transformed into “jeans” when clothing manufacturers began importing the cloth from Genoa in Italy, which is referred to as “Genes” in French. Despite its antiquated terminology, you still might periodically hear old timers referring to heavy work pants as dungarees.

Floppy disk
If you used a computer in the 1980s and ’90s, chances are, you used a square floppy disk for file storage. As CDs became more ubiquitous, the need for floppy disks faded away, so much so that computer makers stopped manufacturing computers with built-in floppy disc drives. Asking a colleague to save something on a disk will certainly make you sound old, as tiny “thumb” or “flash” drives have since replaced bulkier storage media.

In the 1980s, California subculture – in particular, “Valley Girl” speak, began to spread east and into the vocabularies of teens across the country. Words like “grody,” a synonym for “gross” or “revolting,” became commonplace, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere: “Did you see Bridget’s new outfit? It’s totally grody to the max!”

The origins of this word date back to the jazz age of the 1920s, when it started as a slang term for good music – found “in the grooves” of a vinyl record. It gained widespread prominence during the 1960s and ’70s, when it was used as a synonym for “excellent” or “cool.” By the 1980s, the word was pretty much out of fashion. Today, if you refer to someone or something as “groovy” (without a hint of sarcasm, that is), you’ll sound anything but hip.

Before people had refrigerators, they used to keep food cold by placing it in iceboxes, which, quite literally, were insulated metal or wood boxes that held large blocks of ice. Once home refrigerators became more commonplace in the 1930s and 40s, iceboxes were no longer necessary. For those older folks who grew up without mechanical refrigeration, however, the word “icebox” is forever etched in their vernacular.

This European word dates way back to the 1600s, when it was used to describe a small bag used to carry coins. The name comes from a small book that used to be carried in one’s pocket, and also held bank notes and money. While your grandmother might still use the term, younger women tend to call their bags “purses” or “handbags.”

In the early days of air travel, a woman who attended to her passengers’ needs was called a stewardess. As years went on, the term took on a negative connotation, because of the restrictive emphasis put on the way women looked. As more men entered the profession, and as women fought back against gender bias in the 1960s and 1970s, the term was replaced with the more gender-neutral title of “flight attendant.”

If you came of age in the 1980s, chances are you still use the word “tape” when it comes to recording your favorite music or TV shows, as in, “I’m not going to be home tonight to watch ‘60 Minutes.’ Could you tape it for me?” With the advent of digital media, there’s obviously no longer a need to record anything on magnetic tape, but old linguistic habits die hard.

This word, which is an alteration of the term “snippersnapper,” first appeared in the 1700s, making it abundantly clear that even our earliest ancestors were easily annoyed by petulant children. In its more modern form, the term relates to an overconfident child or young person who acts more important than he or she actually is: “That clueless whippersnapper doesn’t know a darn thing about life!”

Xerox launched its first commercially available copy machine in the 1960s. Due to its rapid success, the brand name Xerox soon became interchangeable with the word “copy,” much like the brand Kleenex has become synonymous with “tissue.” Today, there are many new printing machines, and most workers refer to making copies as making copies. Therefore, if you ask a younger coworker to “Xerox” a document for you, you might be met with a blank stare.

Top Jobs for Getting Ahead in 2017

What is a great job? Salary comes to mind when contemplating that question, as does a healthy career track and speedy promotion for quality work. A great job also has to show growth – an indication of increasing importance and demand.

Recently, LinkedIn.com – a massive career information hub and communication platform – released a report on the positions the organization deems the most promising for this year – ones that allow for good pay and opportunities to move up.

TopJobsIn compiling its report, LinkedIn rated positions using weighted criteria important to job seekers. The most important criteria – amounting to 30% of a job’s score – was salary. Career advancement – based on the percentage of members employed at the end of 2015 who then started a new position at the same company during 2016 – accounted for 25% of the score. The number of current job openings was weighted at 20%, and the year-over-year growth of job openings for title represented 15% of the final tally. Also tabulated was regional availability at 10%, which is the number of different regions in the U.S. hiring for each job title.

The number one job on LinkedIn’s roster of promising positions for 2017 is Hospitalist – a doctor who works exclusively within a hospital. In the U.S., the median base salary for such a role is $222,000 a year and, on LinkedIn, there are over 1,000 positions open for the title – an 87% increase, year-over-year. For career advancement, the job scored a 6 out of 10.

In second place on the list, Pharmacist. Pharmacists in the U.S. make an annual median wage of $123,000 and there are more than 3,300 open positions for that profession on LinkedIn, increasing 45% over last year. The job earned a career advancement score of 5 out of 10.

In third place on LinkedIn’s list is the position of Sales Engineer. A sales engineer is tasked with selling technically complex machinery or tech products and must be knowledgeable about said gear. The median base salary for the position, according to LinkedIn, is $80,000 per year. There are over 3,000 listings for the title on LinkedIn and the number of openings has gone up 159% since last year. The occupation was given a career advancement score of 6 out of 10.

Here are the remaining jobs ranking in the Top 10:

4. Site Reliability Engineer. Median Base Salary:  $140,000
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 300+ (93%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10

5. Product Manager
Median Base Salary: $97,500
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 3,000+ (11%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10

6. Financial Analyst
Median Base Salary: $64,000
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 2,500+ (27%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10

7. Technical Program Manager
Median Base Salary: $129,000
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 500+ (49%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10

8. Program Manager
Median Base Salary: $97,400
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 2,300+ (17%)
Career Advancement Score 7 out of 10

9. Data Engineer
Median Base Salary: $105,000
Job Openings (YoY Growth): 900+ (85%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10

10. Scrum Master. Median Base Salary: $100,000.
Job Openings 400+ (104%)
Career Advancement Score 8 out of 10
A Scrum Master is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of a team to deliver product goals and deliverables. The Scrum Master acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.

Modern Inventions Eased Our Lives

We take the tools of modern life for granted. But it was the genius of inventors in various nations that provided them for us. Life would be far different without them. Here’s the background on some of them that originated after 1850.

The internal combustion engine – France, 1859
In 1859, Belgian-born Parisian engineer Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir invented the world’s first workable internal combustion engine, which used coal gas as a fuel. Nowadays, internal combustion engines power almost all land and water vehicles.

The telephone – USA/Canada, 1876
Like many game-changing inventions, the telephone was developed over many years by a number of individuals, but Scottish-born innovator Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the first practical model in 1876. Bell worked on his invention at his home in Canada and at his lab in the United States.

The radio – Italy, 1895
Although a number of pioneers were involved in the development of long-distance radio transmission, it was Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi who created the first viable radio apparatus and wireless telegraphy system back in 1895.

The airplane – USA, 1903
Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with inventing the world’s first airplane, which they flew for four miles over South Carolina in 1903, forever altering the way the human race travels, transports goods and fights wars.

Modern air conditioning – USA, 1902
The first workable electric air conditioning unit was invented by American engineer Willis Carrier in 1902. Artificial cooling enables people to live comfortably in hot places, and cities such as Phoenix and Dubai would be virtually uninhabitable in summer without this technology.

Penicillin – England, 1928
In September 1928, Scottish physician Alexander Fleming first isolated penicillin in his basement lab at St Mary’s Hospital in London. Quite possibly the single most important medical advance of the 20th century, antibiotic penicillin has transformed medicine and significantly increased human longevity.

The transistor – USA, 1947
Believe it or not, many experts regard the transistor as one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. An essential component of most modern electronics, the first working transistor was created at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1947 by engineers John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.

The cell phone – USA, 1973
Most people these days would be lost without their mobile device. The first handheld mobile cell phone, a bona fide brick of a device, was invented by a team of Motorola engineers led by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper and unveiled in 1973.

The World Wide Web – Switzerland, 1989
While the internet was developed in the US during the late 60s, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the first system for distributing information on the global network in 1989 at CERN in Switzerland, and named his creation the World Wide Web. The rest, is of course, history.